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Russell Wilson Already Earning Praise from Teammates: ‘He’s Been Great’

Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth is impressed by Russell Wilson’s ability to get the offensive group together so early in the offseason.



Pittsburgh Steelers FA QB Target Russell Wilson
Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson arrives before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

New Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Russell Wilson isn’t relaxing this offseason, as he worked out with three fellow teammates in San Diego last week.

Tight end Pat Friermuth said on the Around the 412 Podcast with Zachary Smith of Steelers Now and Tyler Weeks that he, and wide receivers Calvin Austin III and Van Jefferson all worked out with Wilson in beautiful, sunny southern California. And Freiermuth said that Wilson’s initiative showcases itself and his leadership.

“I was just down there in San Diego with him working out and throwing routes,” Freiermuth said. “He’s been great at talking to guys and starting to build that connection. He’s a great guy. You can tell the drive and determination that he has to win and come to Pittsburgh and win some playoff games for us.”

Wilson came to the Steelers on a team-friendly deal in March, as they will pay him just over $1 million on a veteran minimum, after the Denver Broncos cut him this offseason

A Super Bowl champion and nine-time Pro Bowler with the Seahawks, Wilson struggled in Denver. He posted an 84.4 passer rating in 2022, the lowest mark of his career by far, and suffered a league-high 55 times.

The Broncos absorbed a gigantic salary cap hit in order to move on from Wilson. They can minimize it if they release him with a post-June 1 designation, but that would still deal them a$85 million in dead cap charges over each the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

Wilson played much better in 2023, statistically, after a rough season in 2022. He started 15 games for the Broncos in 2023, completing 297 of 447 passes (66.4%) for 3,070 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a 98.0 passer rating and a 6.04 adjusted net yards per attempt.

The Broncos benched Wilson for the stretch run, after a contract dispute between him and the team over his contract guarantee for the 2025 season.

Denver traded for Wilson just two seasons ago in a blockbuster trade. They sent two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, quarterback Drew Lock, defensive lineman Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant to the Seahawks for Wilson on March 16, 2022.

The Broncos fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett after just one season, trading more draft picks for former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton this past offseason. Wilson played better, but he did not appear to have a solid relationship with Payton, who has gone out of his way to criticize Wilson this offseason.